Sunday, October 14, 2012

Learning I’m So Afraid…and Keeping it Real

I heard this song for the first time while viewing the live performance on The Dance DVD.  As is often the case with songs written and sung by Lindsey Buckingham, the sincerity of the lyrics and heartfelt authenticity behind the extended solo are unmistakably personal - this is classic Lindsey.  I don’t know the specific nature of his struggle, but it was clear to me that if I’m going to sing and play this song with any emotional legitimacy, I’m going to have to tap in to something that’s all mine to make the words painfully personal.  This is not a song you can sing based on technical precision; rather, it’s a song you must sing with your heart.  As I said, it’s classic Lindsey.

I don’t mean to get too heavy about this, but as a tribute band we’re looking for every opportunity to capture what’s authentic.  In learning “I’m So Afraid”, my journey as a recovering addict allows me to make these lyrics incredibly personal. Phrases like “I’ve been alone all the years, so many ways to count the tears” and “I’m so afraid I’ll live and I’ll fall and I’ll die” are not overly dramatic. They are simply honest and true as I look back on my life before 1995 and getting clean. 

The lyrics are only half the story.  The slow, heavy tempo and use of minor chords give the song a haunting characteristic to match the painful lyrics.  Lindsey drives hard through two verses and passion-filled choruses before punctuating the song with an extended guitar solo in classic-rock fashion.  Unlike Lindsey, I use a pick for most of my solos. Nonetheless, this dramatic melody (partially based on pentatonic scale) allows me build the solo, climbing up the neck toward a crescendo hanging on a high, screaming bend in classic Lindsey style.  This climax exemplifies the painful release of all the memories and associated fears that go with being in recovery.  As I said, to be authentic I had to make it mine.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing story Steve! You play this song with so much do it with pride and commitment! It is an honor to play it with you!